‘On Becoming Preys to Terrorists’ and other poems
By: Blessing Omeiza Ojo
On Becoming Preys to Terrorists,
I Remember Childhood Exploits.
Perhaps, the burning of Borno by herders
is the wind of karma banging on our doors.
Most of us raised in the village were bad children.
On our way home, after school hours,
we’d climb fruit trees––trees with blossoms of fruits,
pluck and eat more than our stomach could carry.
Cursing the ones fruitless or too difficult to climb
because of their shape, didn’t make us the Messiah,
but we’d have cut them down if we’d seen
an electric saw or axe. When we were through,
we’d chase rats. And into their holes they’d run.
This is how I learnt death has its own patina.
We’d dig them out––out of their havens. Those who
escaped through an emergency exit must have
called us fools. We’d burn bushes, clubs in our hands,
holding up for those skilled in kinetic art.
We never knew what it means to be homeless,
what it means to be running and running to nowhere.
To a boy without a Home
When bullets came in the regalia of night, tasty of blood,
hungry for flesh to perforate, I hid my body under the wings
of a night owl, thinking of what route leads to survival.
Another night is here and I haven’t seen the way to life.
I heard you tasted grief again and your body breaks
into molecule. Or should I say grief tasted you?
This poem is not to remind us of our burnt origin,
of our fathers who didn’t return from the farm.
A man who was also a devil said they had a hard time
tracing their way back home. Boy, this poem
should erect pillars behind our minuscule muscle.
I know you have volumes of demons craving
to fill your body with destructive elements.
I see the way you keep your face in the dark,
hiding what is left of you away from what hunts you.
Boy, there are many of our kinds on the street.
Some hide in bars at night thinking of their loss
and fade at dawn. Some hold gutters as heaven is to God.
No matter how grief comes, a boy without a home
must find one–– find a sacred place to hide your life.
Boy, you must find a home in exile
for it is for bodies like us exile is birthed.
Blessing Omeiza Ojo is Nigerian poet, author and creative writing teacher living in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a proud member of Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation. You can find his works on Cọ́n-scìò, the Deadlands, Split Lip, Wax Poetry & Art, Parousia, Afrihill, Artnews, Artslounge, Icreatives, Words Rhyme & Rhythm, Parousia, Konya Shamsrumi, Trampoline and elsewhere. Omeiza is the mentor behind the birth of several teenage poets, authors and slam champs. His works have been translated into several languages including Yoruba, French and Italian. His poetry has received nominations for Best of the Net, Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, Creators of Justice Awards, Castello di Duino International Poetry and Theatre Competition, Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest and the Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize.